While searching for grad school advisers, I came across a really interesting researcher from UBC whose work includes “research in Siberia around the history and experience of residential schooling among indigenous Siberian Evenki.” My eyes nearly popped out of my head at that. Residential schools for Indigenous peoples is, of course, a subject I’m already deeply familiar with.¬†Details are still being released over Canada’s own residential schools for Indigenous children, the most horrifying being the exact number of deaths, the sexual abuse, the “nutritional experiments”, and in one case, an electric chair being used on students. There is great literature on the history of Indian Boarding Schools in the United States and its impact on American Indian communities in its creation of multigenerational trauma.

I’m going to pick up this book, but before I even open it, it’s already proved useful. The very existence of residential schools during the Soviet period (according to the snippet of the book from Google) is proof enough to debunk three common myths I’ve encountered about Russia/The Soviet Union in the past year. The myths are:

1.) There was no colonialism in the Soviet Union, and, from that stretch, what is happening right now in Ukraine cannot be analyzed through a postcolonial lens

2.) Russian news media and Russian political powers (Russia Today for example) are a good ally for Indigenous peoples in other parts of the world to rely on for accurate, fair, and solidarity-minded coverage without an agenda

3.) Russia cares about Indigenous peoples and their well-being and survival and it is therefore in the interest of all Indigenous peoples worldwide that they supplant the United States as the global superpower

Happy reading to me!